Scotland's transition to a more prosperous, low carbon economy is already well underway. Decarbonising the way we heat our buildings is a critical next stage in this transition.
The Scottish Energy Strategy sets out a whole-system vision for the transition, placing energy efficiency alongside a low carbon heat supply. It sets two key targets for the Scottish energy system by 2030:
1. The equivalent of 50% of the energy for Scotland's heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources
2. An increase of 30% in the productivity of energy use across the Scottish economy
These targets are in line with our over-arching long-term target to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (as required by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act), and our stated ambition for Scotland's buildings to be near zero carbon by 2050. The Climate Change Plan outlines an ambitious trajectory for the decarbonisation of Scotland's heat supply which will see around 35% of domestic and 70% of non-domestic buildings' heat supplied by low carbon sources by 2032 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Scotland's path towards heat decarbonisation
It is important that efforts to decarbonise our heat supply also support our objectives to eradicate fuel poverty and create sustainable and inclusive growth. We have established the independent Just Transition Commission to provide practical advice to Scottish Ministers on how we can move to a carbon-neutral economy that is fair for all. Our Energy Strategy is clear that we will maintain Scotland's leadership in developing local energy systems, building on a legacy of strong community engagement in local renewable generation. We will publish a Local Energy Systems Policy Statement during 2019.
The Energy Strategy also sets out that bioenergy will have an important role in our future energy system. We will publish a draft Bioenergy Action Plan, providing clearer scope for the development of bioenergy in the Scottish energy system. This will be informed by research that aims to improve our understanding of the potential contribution that bioenergy can make to meeting Scottish energy demand across power, heat and transport fuels.
The Call for Evidence
This call builds on previous consultations and is focussed on an area within our control. It seeks evidence on the technologies and the government action necessary to support the decarbonisation of the heat supply of buildings that currently do not use mains gas as their primary heating fuel. In particular, we are seeking evidence and views on:
- The best low carbon heating technologies for deployment as alternatives to carbon intensive technologies, and where these technologies can most feasibly be deployed;
- Barriers to uptake and how these may be overcome;
- The relationship between energy efficiency levels and heat supply options;
- The challenges, risks and opportunities to Scotland's businesses, existing heating system and heating fuel supply chains and carbon intensive industries
- The potential impact that a transition to low carbon heat may have on fuel poverty.
The call for evidence will run for 12 weeks from 26 March 2019 – 18 June 2019. We will then analyse the responses received to inform further policy development. The responses, where relevant, will help us develop a Bioenergy Action Plan and Local Energy Systems Policy Statement.